Infidelity: A Cheating Spouse
Infidelity is the breaking of a pledge to stay faithful to a romantic partner, whether that promise was made as part of a marriage vow, a secret pact between lovers, or an unspoken assumption. Infidelity is a betrayal, but it does not always mean the end of a relationship; infidelity also happens in happy partnerships. This journaling challenge takes you through 10 days of healing and helps mold a better perspective:
Day 1 - Working through Your Feelings
Day 2 - How Not to Blame Yourself
Day 3 - How Not to Lose Self-Esteem
Day 4 - How to Ask for Help
Day 5 - Reflecting on Your Relationship
Day 6 - How to Communicate After the Affair
Day 7 - Decide What's Next for You
Day 8 - Learn from the Experience
Day 9 - Consider Online Group Therapy
Day 10 - Time Heals All Wounds
Step 1: Work Through Your Feelings
Astonishment, rage, and grief are frequent reactions when a spouse's infidelity is discovered. It takes time and a lot of effort to work through these emotions, and it's crucial to give yourself space to collect all of your ideas and feelings. Try writing what you'll say in your head, so you come across as authoritative rather than angry; approaching it with rage will lead to reckless decisions. Use methods like mindfulness, self-regulation, and seven-second breathing to help you manage your emotions. The first few days of reaction are where you set the tone of how you want to handle this ordeal in the future.
Step 2: Do Not Blame Yourself
It's all too easy to point the finger at yourself for what happened, but you're not to blame for your partner's conduct. While some self-reflection is healthy for personal development, spiraling into harsh self-criticism and excessive self-blame slows down the healing process. Place the responsibility entirely on the cheater, rather than blaming yourself or worrying about what could have been.
Step 3: Don't Lose Self-Esteem
Amy Morin at Forbes says, "The private conversations you have with yourself can be either a powerful stepping stone or a major obstacle to reaching 'goals."
Those pessimistic predictions might quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Negative self-talk can become downright self-destructive because your thoughts strongly influence how you feel and behave. Telling yourself that you'll never be successful or that you're not as excellent as other people lowers your self-esteem and prevent you from confronting your anxieties.
Step 4: Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
When you're dealing with something as life-altering as adultery, this kind of news may be emotionally and physically draining. For example, you might desire to block out the outside world and avoid seeing or speaking with anyone. You might notice that you're having trouble concentrating at work or that you don't have the energy or drive to look for yourself. When faced with adversity and disappointment, it's critical to practice self-love and self-care during these trying times and be around people you love and that love you.
Step 5: Reflect On Your Relationship
This is the most challenging phase, and it will determine whether or not you can both move on. "People can make poor choices at times," says Amanda D. Mahoney, a family and marriage therapist. The question then becomes: does that poor decision and/or symptom(s) have to determine the relationship's future? The answer is very dependent on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Unmet marital needs, poor communication, attachment issues, and old-fashioned gender stereotypes can be catalysts for an affair, which Mahoney has assisted couples in her clinic.
Step 6: Communicate After The Affair
The irony of "communication after an affair" is that a lack of communication frequently marks infidelity-prone couples. Couples must now double down and talk while experiencing fury, contempt, shame, and guilt due to the infidelity problem – situations that would test even the most exemplary communicators.
However, many things are often tied to a relationship, such as kids, pets, house, and even emotional contingencies. For this reason, you need to communicate with the other person for the sake of these things.
Step 7: Decide What's Next For You
After an affair, moving on requires deciding how you want to live your life. Do you want to break up with your lover or work on improving your relationship? Weiss recommends that you consider all of the following factors: "First and foremost, has the cheating ceased? Have the deceptions and secrets come to an end? Are there more positives in the relationship than negatives in general? Is it possible for the unfaithful partner to re-establish trust in the relationship? There is no one-size-fits-all formula for deciding whether to stay or go, but these questions can help." There are no right or incorrect answers to these crucial topics.
Step 8: Learn From The Experience
When 1,000 people were asked what constitutes "cheating," the results of a recent study commissioned by Deseret News were mixed. According to the majority of respondents, physical, sexual contact with someone outside of the relationship would always fulfill the criterion for infidelity (71 percent-76 percent). However, a minor majority (63 percent) believed that keeping an online dating profile or sending seductive messages to someone else should always be deemed infidelity. Hence, one of the things you can take away from this experience is to think about what you would do going forward with the same relationship or moving on to a new one. If anything, this experience will teach you more about your boundaries and red flags addressed in relationships.
Step 9: Consider Going To Therapy
Knowing what to do or where to begin after an affair might be challenging. Consider talking with a competent therapist who can guide you through the process if the chats you're having with your partner aren't going anywhere. "The therapist's capacity to be a neutral party in the talk helps determine what underlying unfulfilled needs inside the couple's relationship can be addressed and processed," Mahoney explains. "During this exploratory period of therapy, couples have a higher ability to seek understanding, find compassion, and overcome problems and move forward."
Step 10: Give It Time
Infidelity is a terrible thing to happen, but it doesn't have to be fatal. It does, however, have a silver lining. As bad as it is to experience, as awful as it is to happen, infidelity may be a positive thing to help individuals alter their life. If handled properly, it has the potential to enrich people's lives, make them more resilient, and improve them in the long run.
The days after the discovery of an affair is frequently excruciatingly painful. Both spouses must be fully committed to finding a path to rehabilitation and healing, even if they don't plan to stay together.